Difficult as 2020 was for everyone, expectations are rife from the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman´s budget for 2021. This budget will be a vital one as the country needs to balance investing for the future while dealing with the immediate aftereffects of an economic slowdown.
While all eyes are on the board, The Tech Panda asked experts in different sectors about what they would prefer to see in the outcome.
Technology and IT Industry
Varun Babbar, Managing Director, Qlik, observes that while some industries were hit harder than others, there have been some bright spots in the overall tech front.
There is a clear need for upskilling in areas like critical thinking and data literacy together with further creating infrastructure not just in terms of technology, but also the legal framework around data, data privacy and AI
“We have seen both the private and public sector accelerate digital transformation and invest much more into analytics and AI to solve real problems, quickly. The Government’s twin vision of becoming a 5 trillion-dollar economy and building an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ will depend on how we invest today,” he said.
“There is a clear need for upskilling in areas like critical thinking and data literacy together with further creating infrastructure not just in terms of technology, but also the legal framework around data, data privacy and AI. We look forward to a budget that clearly balances solving today’s issues, while still thinking long-term, so we can build a strong and resilient economy that will propel India to newer heights this decade,” he added.
Harshit Jain MD, Founder and CEO, Doceree, says the pandemic hit India’s healthcare severely and in spite of waiting until 2015 to reach the target of 2.5% of GDP to be spent on healthcare, the government should eye reaching it in the next two years so that healthcare infrastructure in the country could be improved.
While universal health coverage is a welcome step and so is the idea of Health IDs, they must not remain on papers and get mired in red tape, facing delays
“It is high time that the spend is significantly increased, given that the population of our country is so huge. Additionally, while universal health coverage is a welcome step and so is the idea of Health IDs, they must not remain on papers and get mired in red tape, facing delays,” he says.
“In the upcoming budget, allocations and timelines should be announced, so that they get implemented in an organized manner, and we are closer to realizing the vision of making healthcare accessible and affordable. Besides, innovative healthcare startups that are working to promote accessibility and affordability should be encouraged by way of tax benefits and tax holidays, so that government and private partners can work together to make the condition of Indian healthcare better,” he adds.
Shivjeet Ghatge, CEO and Co-founder, StepSetGo, says that considering that the Indian startup ecosystem has played a pivotal role in the country’s economic growth, especially given the tumultuous year it’s seen in 2020, it deserves good news.
For startups to continue to accelerate and build on this momentum, the budget this year will have to meet expectations that will enable this progress
“We’ve come out to become the third-largest robust startup landscape after the US and China and have churned out a staggering number of unicorns in the last few years. So, for startups to continue to accelerate and build on this momentum, the budget this year will have to meet expectations that will enable this progress,” he says.
“A focal point for startups is the availability of working capital. While according to NASSCOM the investment ecosystem is set to return to its pre-pandemic levels, if not exceed it, a mobilized framework for funding would be a great start that would increase the ease of inflow and outflow for foreign investors,” he adds.
Considering the size of the Indian software exports, we are hopeful that this year’s budget increases the prioritization of growth opportunities and incentives for indigenous, homegrown brands. For the startup industry, initiatives like ‘Make in India’ have helped put Indian tech companies at the forefront and drove international visibility,” he concludes.
Media and Entertainment
Ankit Agarwal, Founder of Do Your Thng, says that as the pandemic has changed many things forever, sectors like the media and entertainment industry are at the cusp of reinvention.
Addressing the M&E segment will result in higher consumption, fueling growth
“The WFH phenomenon, which is here to stay, has accelerated shifts in consumer behavior. The media and entertainment industry is at the cusp of a humongous potential, much of it untapped. The ensuing digital disruption helped the industry reach tipping points earlier than estimated. I sincerely hope the government recognizes the above fact and provides more money in the hands of citizens,” he says.
“Addressing the M&E segment will result in higher consumption, fueling growth. The concomitant creations of more jobs will become another pillar to reinforce the entire economy,” he adds.